Date Farm Apprentice – China Ranch

Contact information
Farm Address:
8 China Ranch Road
Tecopa, California, 92389

Primary Contact: Christian Beauchamp
Primary Phone:
    Number: 7025739254



Internship information
General Farm Description: China Ranch is situated in the northern Mojave Desert, just a few miles from the Amargosa River. We are currently farming 25 acres of date palms and we harvest about 50,000 pounds of the fruit per year. There are about 1,300 date palms in our fields, consisting of about 20 varieties including Deglet, Medjool, Barhi, Halawi, Dayri, and some of our own hybrids. We have a gravity fed irrigation system to water all the trees. Our farming methods are organic, though we are not USDA certified. Willow Creek, a stream that runs through the property, allows for more greenery and wildlife than would be typically found in the desert. The unique ecology and climate here make it possible to grow a crop that can only be grown in a small area of North America. We also have onsite a retail bakery and shop, where we sell our own baked goods and other unique trinkets. Also on the property are marked trails maintained by the Amargosa Conservancy and in the cooler months, many tourists come to hike and visit our store. China Ranch hosts on WWOOF and we generally have between 1-4 wwoofers living on the farm throughout the year. For more information about China Ranch, like the history of the farm, please visit our website.

CRAFT Member Farm? No

Internship Starts: October 1st, 2024
Internship Ends: April 1st, 2025
Number of Internship Available: 3
Application Deadline: September 1st
Minimum Length of Stay: 3 months

Internship Details:

Apprenticeship Description

An apprentice will take part in every step of the date farming process, from pollinating to harvest. Pollination takes about a month and we are usually finished by May. In the summer, while we wait for the dates to ripen, the work involves removing offshoots to sell and general field maintenance. In the fall, the dates begin to ripen and we start harvesting. Harvesting and sorting continues through winter, and depending on the year, we’re finished harvesting as early as February.

Trimming fronds (palm branches) and removing thorns from the palms is a constant part of the process. Apprentices should be prepared to spend a lot of time trimming the trees. Keeping the trees clean and well-maintained makes it pleasant to work in the field, but as soon as the palms become overgrown, the whole dynamic changes. 

We utilize various machinery and tools for maintaining the field. Though it helps us if applicant have experience using a wide range of tools and machines, the most important qualities of an apprentice are an optimistic attitude, mental/physical toughness, and emotional stability. It is helpful for apprentices to come with an open mind, as preconceived assumptions can be an obstacle to learning. That said, we are open to hearing creative ideas for the improvement of the farm. Apprentices who complete the season, from October to April, may be offered a full time position on the field crew. For those who find fulfillment in growing food, living in the desert, and learning new skills, this job is for you.

Educational Opportunities: Apprentices will have the opportunity to learn about the wild land surrounding the farm, where various edible/medicinal plants can be found. There is also the opportunity to learn about the unique creatures that live in the surrounding desert. There are an abundance of resources here and plentiful opportunities to learn both during and outside of work.

Skills Desired: For applicants with mechanic skills, a higher pay can be negotiated. We have various machines that we need help with.

Meals: We do not provide daily meals, but we often have a potluck on Fridays. We also have a farm store where you can get 30% off things like date shakes, date smoothies, date bars, cookies, muffins, date bread, etc.

Stipend: Accepted applicants will receive California Minimum wage - $16/hour

Housing: Applicants who bring their own housing are preferred (RV, camper van, tent). We have multiple spaces available with water and electric.

Preferred method of Contact: Email